Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

Stony Brook University’s Center for the Study of Inequality, Social Justice and Policy (CSISJP) seeks to stimulate and support inquiry into entangled inequities such as of race, ethnicity, gender, (dis)ability and environment, especially as these intersect with inequalities of class, work and wealth; and to promote innovative approaches and collaborations for social justice.

We live in an era driven by worsening inequalities that beg for greater academic understanding and engagement. Globally, yawning gaps in wealth and opportunity have spurred mass migrations and demographic shifts. Nationally, the decline of a middle class has trapped millions in low-wage jobs or poverty, while riches and power increasingly concentrate in the hands of a few. Centuries of racial disparities and violent oppression endure; from the systematic anti-blackness and police shootings that inspired Black Lives Matter to mass incarceration disproportionately targeting people of color and the recent alarming rise of neo-Nazis and white nationalism. Other inequalities, whether from the exploitative pressures of Neoliberal labor regimes or the slow violence of an environmental toxin or a warming planet, seem woven into the very places where we live and work. Fuller understanding of these inequalities, from their causes and consequences to the questions of justice that attend them, demands that we recognize just how deeply interconnected they may be. We need fresh veins of interdisciplinary discussion and scholarship as well as new forms of scholarly engagement in classrooms and communities beyond.

In this context, the Center aims to provide a regional and national forum for substantive exploration of a wide array of topics pertaining to inequality and social justice, through supporting and promoting:

  • Scholarly interchange and collaboration
  • Curricular and student enrichment, other engagements with inequalities and injustice within the academy
  • Public and community engagement and collaborations beyond the academy
  • Dialogue between scholars, activists, and public policy makers

One commitment of our Center is intellectual: to an intersectional and contextual understanding of inequality. We seek to illuminate interlocking relationships between inequality and multiple systems of oppression, axes of domination defined by class, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, geography, and other markers of constructed difference, as embedded in contexts of wealth, poverty, and power. The Center’s second keystone commitment is to promoting social justice, both within and beyond the academy, in communities and causes on Long Island, Greater New York, and beyond. A third core of our mission is to bridge the gap between academics, community groups, and public policy makers by sponsoring dialogue and debate over public policies that can address our society’s yawning inequalities and injustices. We thereby aim to deliver critical and interdisciplinary perspectives on what can and should be done to address crucial needs, with special regard for the most vulnerable, whose voices are often least likely to be heard.